Car charging problem or not?

10

Asked by Nov 06, 2017 at 04:16 AM about the 1999 Honda Accord EX V6

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Bought a new battery from Advanced in December 2015.  A week ago car would not start on first 4 tries (one after the other).  (Not that cold out, BTW.) Lights came on full, but no sound of engine even attempting to turn over -- no sound at all.  The next try (a few minutes later) there was a weak chug, then the next try immediately after started fine.  Has started fine since.

A few days ago took it to O'Reilly (Advanced was closed), and they tested the battery and it came back with "Charge and re-test."  Guy testing thought this would suggest alternator problem, but both alternator and started tested OK.  Then he checked battery again, and it said bad battery.  He said to take it back to Advanced and get it replaced.

A few days later Advanced checked battery and got "charge and re-test."  (I think they also checked the alternator and said it was OK...I can't recall for sure, but even a car dummy like myself knows that would have been the logical next step).  They charged it for an hour, and said it then tested as good.

So my (car dummy) question:  Does this mean my car has a charging issue?  And that it's *not* the alternator?  Or does Advanced have some sort of "heavy duty" charger that can "fully revive a battery" whereh normal charging by my car can't?  (I  had driven pretty lightly since the starting-hesitation incident, but still at minimum 15-20 miles.)  Any suggestions appreciated..

9 Answers

185,285

These need a good battery too crank the engine, if the battery is weak or you have bad or dirty cables they will only make one loud click but won't turn over the engine, this can also be confused with a bad starter, so you need to know what the battery is capable of as far as Cold Cranking Amps, and the only to test it is to run a load test on the battery, I suspect you have a battery that is on its way out, most batteries only last 3 to 4 years, and both places showed charge and retest and one even failed it. Now there is a test that you can do at home but if it fails the test you will need a new battery or a charger to get it started again. Simply turn on the headlights for 20 minutes, then turn them off and see if it will crank over and start, if it doesn't then you need a new battery, if it does then shut off cause you don't want to burn up your alternator and recharge the battery with a slow charger overnight.

2 people found this helpful.
101,475

Only very advanced battery testers can test a discharged battery, that explains the charge and retest result as O'reilly and Advanced don't have that type of tester. With the run of the mill battery testers the battery must be charged and then tested. I would still suspect the battery due to you getting 2 different test results. I would have it tested for a parasitic draw though.

3 people found this helpful.
Best Answer Mark helpful
10

Interesting thought re possible parasitic draw, Bob. If that was occurring, it would continue even with a new battery as well until addressed, wouldn't it?

101,475

Yes it would, a new battery might take a little longer to be discharged to the point of causing an issue than an old battery. Also it IS possible that the problem is your battery. How long is the warranty on the battery you purchased? A top of the line battery should be guaranteed for about 3 years and life expectancy is about 5 years. A cheep battery will be guaranteed for 1 year and may last a couple of years. In batteries, as other things in life, you get what you pay for.

1 people found this helpful.
10

The Advanced battery, which I got in December 2015, was their top-of-the-line (Autocraft Gold). It had a three-year replacement warranty. When I went in a few days ago they told me that if it failed the one-hour charge they would have to try an overnight charge before designating it replaceable if it failed that. I complained (I've had problems with Advanced batteries before, including one that was dead as soon as they installed it in 2012), so the manager said he would replace it if it failed the one hour charge. But it "passed" after a one-hour charge, so they said it wasn't eligible for areplacement. I didn't want to take any chances, especially heading into winter, so I decided to get a new battery elsewhere, and ended up with a Diehard. But I did not want to assume that just doing that would solve any underlying issues, so that is why I posted a question here.

101,475

The Diehard should be a good battery. Post back and let us know how it went. Best of luck with it.

10

Well, car sat outside with the DieHard for about two days, and then I had exactly the same startup issue! Took even more tries than before to start, but when it finally responded beyond lights, it started right up. (I wonder if jiggling the gear lever helped, although I *think* it took several tries even after that.) Then, after driving about 10 miles, car sat in an indoor heated garage three days. Stared with no problem. Then sat outside about 2 days (temp has been about 32F at night), started with no problem. Another 2 nights outside -- this time on mechanic's lot where I was taking it both for regular maintenance & to look into this issue -- and they started it with no problem. They spent a fair amount of time testing, found no battery or electrical problems. That was a couple days ago. Just reporting back. Won't have any further posts unless the issue recurs (which I'm not expecting, but you never know...)

1 people found this helpful.
40

If you put in a new battery in your Honda, start the engine and the battery voltage doesn't increase (which is how you'd expect to see if the charging system works), just turn on the headlights and the REAR window defroster to pull a load on the electrical system, and then the battery voltage should jump to 14+ volts showing that the charging system is working and nothing is wrong. Whether or not you like this setup (which I don't) it is all done in the name of gas mileage. Because the battery voltage can be allowed to get what I would regard as dangerously low before triggering a charge with no load, DO NOT sit in your car with the engine off using the accessories.

2 people found this helpful.
40

There might not be anything wrong. A battery in a late model Honda won't charge unless it's very low or unless you draw significant power with accessories. If your battery voltage is low with the engine running, try turning on the headlights and the REAR window defroster. If the battery voltage doesn't come up to 14+ volts then you may have a problem.

2 people found this helpful.

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